Aces vs. Sky score: Las Vegas holds off Chicago to advance to semifinals behind A'ja Wilson's 38 points (2024)

The Minnesota Lynx are still alive. After losing Game 1 by 30 points, the Lynx looked like a completely different team in Game 2 on Sunday afternoon, and kept their season alive with an 82-75 victory over the Connecticut Sun. The winner-take-all Game 3 of that series will be on Wednesday in Minnesota

Kayla McBride hit six 3-pointers en route 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds, all of which were playoff career-highs. Meanwhile Napheesa Collier battled through a sore back to finish with a playoff career-high 26 points and 13 rebounds. Together, that duo scored 66% of the Lynx's points.

In the second game of Sunday's double-header, the defending champion Las Vegas Aces advanced to the semifinals with a convincing 92-70 win over the Chicago Sky. A'ja Wilson poured in 38 points to set a new playoff career-high and a franchise playoff record. She added 16 rebounds, three steals and four blocks in a truly stunning performance.

This is the fifth consecutive semi-final appearance for the Aces, who are looking to become the first team since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002 to repeat as champions. The Aces will now play the winner of the Dallas Wings versus the Atlanta Dream; the Wings are up 1-0 in that series.

Here are some key takeaways from Sunday's games:

1. Wilson makes history with dominant effort

A'ja Wilson might soon become the first player since Cynthia Cooper, and just the second player ever, to repeat as WNBA MVP. To understand why, you only needed to watch her dominant performance in the Aces' win on Sunday.

Wilson was all over the place on both sides of the ball right from the opening tip, and finished with 38 points, 16 rebounds, three steals and four blocks. In the process, she set a new playoff career-high and an Aces franchise playoff scoring record -- surpassing head coach Becky Hammon -- and joined Breanna Stewart and Lisa Leslie as the only players in WNBA history to have a 35 and 15 game in the postseason.

That the effort came against an overmatched Sky squad made no difference. In this game we saw all of Wilson's varied skill sets on display. She drove the ball to the basket, overpowered opponents in the post, knocked down mid-range jump shots, jumped into passing lanes and flew over in help defense to protect the rim.

The only potential cause for concern was that she got poked in the eye late in the fourth quarter and had to go to the bench. It doesn't appear to be a serious injury and the Aces will now have a week off, but it will be something to monitor ahead of the semifinals.

2. Lynx take care of the ball

Heading into this series, the turnover battle was perhaps the most important factor. The Sun were the best team in the league at turning opponents over and converting those mistakes into points, while the Lynx struggled to take care of the ball and were missing starting point guard Lindsay Allen. So far, turnovers have indeed proved key.

In Game 1, the Lynx turned the ball over 19 times, which the Sun converted into 30 points -- the exact margin in a total blowout. But in Game 2, the Lynx did a much better job in that department, coughing it up only seven times. While the Sun still managed to turn those into 20 points with an extremely high conversion rate, they weren't able to control the possession game and score with ease in the fastbreak over and over.

Their offensive possessions on Sunday were much more assured, particularly early in the game. There were a few shaky moments in the second half after Napheesa Collier hurt her back and Tiffany Mitchell tweaked her ankle where they gave in to the pressure, but it was impressive to see them regroup down the stretch; they didn't have a single turnover in the final six-and-a-half minutes.

They'll have to do so again in Game 3 to pull off this series upset.

3. Collier and McBride deliver

Napheesa Collier and Kayla McBride have been the Lynx's two best players all season long, and they showed it in Game 2 with a pair of heroic performances to keep their team's season alive. Together they combined for 54 points, 21 rebounds, four assists and three steals. They scored 66% of their team's points, and shot 22-of-42 from the field; the rest of the squad 9-of-27 for 28 points.

McBride's six 3-pointers, 28 points and eight rebounds were all playoff career-highs, while Collier's 26 points were a playoff career-high. And when the Lynx were hanging on by a thread in the fourth quarter, that duo put their foot down and refused to lose. After the Sun had cut the deficit to three, they scored 11 of their team's next 12 points to put the game away.

Making Collier's performance, in particular, even more impressive, is that she was battling through back soreness. She checked out of the game early in the third quarter and briefly went to the locker room before returning to the bench and being listed as questionable to return. A short time later, she checked back into the game and didn't sit out again. To put up 26 and 13 on the road in an elimination game with a bad back was truly gutsy stuff from Collier, and showed why she's going to receive MVP votes. The only question now is how she'll feel come Wednesday. The Lynx will obviously need her at her best if they want to win Game 3 and advance to the semifinals.

Aces vs. Sky score: Las Vegas holds off Chicago to advance to semifinals behind A'ja Wilson's 38 points (2024)
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